The Plarn Crochet Circle meets once a week to turn plastic grocery bags into sleeping mats for homeless people. (Contributed photo)

Surrey seniors group prevents 43,000 plastic bags from going to landfill

The Plarn Crochet Circle meets once a week in South Surrey

A group of South Surrey seniors are in their second year of crocheting sleeping mats for homeless people in Vancouver and, in the process, have diverted more than 43,000 plastic bags away from area landfills.

The women, who for the most part are residents of Whitecliff Retirement Residence, meet once a week to weave plastic bags into sleeping mats.

Each mat takes about 620 plastic bags to make and so far, the group has created more than 70 of them.

“When you think about it, it’s very impactful on a lot of different levels, the ladies are excited about it,” Linda Bellamy, who started the crochet group, told Peace Arch News Tuesday.

“They like that they can do something and feel like they’re contributing. It’s worthwhile.”

Bellamy’s mother, Linda Vohlidka, is one of the founding members of the group.

“My mom saw on the news a couple months ago, they were doing a homeless count and the news reporter panned to an area where the homeless people were. My mom saw one of them sitting on one of our mats. She was quite excited about it,” Bellamy said.

When the project first started, the sleeping mats were being donated to the Salvation Army Gateway of Hope in Langley.

However, Bellamy said, the bylaw officers in Langley expressed concern that the plastic mats may end up in the city’s culverts.

“Now I’m taking them to the Covenant House in Vancouver,” Bellamy said.

The ‘Plarn Crochet Circle’ is requesting plastic grocery bag donations. Bellamy said it’s important that the bags be of the standard grocery bag variety, as the group is unable to crochet the more durable liquor store bags. The group is unable to use miscellaneous plastic.

Plastic bags can be left at the reception desk of Whitecliff (15501 16 Ave.).

The group, which is open to more members, meets every Saturday at Whitecliff from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

“If people want to come and help, they’re more than welcome.”

To learn more about the group, contact Linda at 604-312-3253

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